Sir Albert Bore, the Leader of Birmingham City Council, and the Lord Mayor of Birmingham, Councillor Mike Leddy, officially opened the centre at Mill Wharf in Aston on 31st October.
The new National Centre of Excellence will provide a training base for up to 144 apprentices at any one time across the different building services engineering and facilities management disciplines, as well as being home to a range of top-up training and professional development courses for those already working in the professions.
The Lord Mayor said, ‘Birmingham is proud of its buildings, as our ever changing skyline and regeneration all across the city is testament to. Making these projects happen requires talented tradesmen.
‘It therefore gives me great pleasure to open JTL’s new National Centre of Excellence. It is a bold commitment to the city and I am proud that JTL has chosen Birmingham to locate its flagship training centre for the UK.
‘This city has a prosperous future ahead. We have great ambition and drive and we are working hard to provide employment opportunities for our young people. These youngsters face a tough challenge to find work currently, so quality training opportunities like those offered by JTL are going to be essential in helping to address that.’
Sir Albert Bore said, ‘With the economic crisis having a considerable impact on the city’s residents, preventing Birmingham people, and particularly young people becoming long term unemployed is seen as a fundamental part of our vision for economic growth. The Birmingham Commission on Youth Unemployment, set up in August 2012, called to ramp up the number of apprenticeships for young people and preparing young people better for work.
‘I am proud to see JTL invest in such a significant new training facility which will help to train a further 144 apprentices. Their work is laudable. Our message is clear to city employers – there’s never been a better time to take advantage of apprenticeship opportunities. Our vision for Birmingham is to drive economic growth through developing the skills of our residents and workforce, by raising the aspirations of young people in the city, ensuring quality of provision, building on the competency base of existing employees, and offering opportunities to workless residents.
‘Tackling youth unemployment is one of Birmingham’s key priorities, with an unemployment rate among young people of 22.5 per cent. Our recently announced Apprenticeship Strategy will reinforce the work of the Birmingham Children Strategy Partnership, which works to ensure that every child achieves their potential, and the city’s Skills Agenda which gives every young person the opportunity to progress on to an apprenticeship, further education or training.
‘We recognise the importance of supporting every young person in the city to aspire and be able to achieve their best.’
Denis Hird, chief executive of JTL, said, ‘Our new centre combines attractive classrooms and a conference centre on the first floor, whilst on the ground floor separate workshops have been created to support practical training. They are also the location for independent assessment of Level 3 qualifications in electrical installation and maintenance, as well as both Levels 2 & 3 awards in plumbing or heating and ventilating and other related trades.
‘With business confidence in the Birmingham area having reached a 13 month high and encouraging indicators that construction is set on a growth path, there is clearly going to be a growing need for qualified people able to support newbuild and extensive renovation work across the built environment.’
With the first intake of apprentices in Birmingham set to start their combined practical and study programmes now, JTL is urging more employers to gain the benefits of offering apprenticeship opportunities for talented young people.